Popular white buck illegally shot

Town of Ithaca, Wis. — Word spread quickly through Sauk County’s Bear Valley on Friday, Nov. 25 that someone had shot a large, well-known white buck.

According to sources from the area, a group of hunters spotted the white buck bedded down on their property in tall grass behind some of their buildings. Two or more persons hopped onto ATVs and drove towards the buck to get a better look at the deer in an attempt to determine whether the buck was an albino.

People from Bear Valley who’d seen the buck many times the past five years said the buck was more tame than wild, and was fed regularly by locals. The buck didn’t spook as the ATVs approached.

The camp members were under the impression that albino bucks are protected, but that they could shoot a white buck. When they saw that the buck had black eyes, not pink, they returned to their cabin, loaded some rifles and went back to the buck’s bedded location.

One of the men shot the buck.

His name wasn’t released by Sean Neverman, a DNR conservation warden in Sauk County who investigated the case. Neverman did issue the man a citation for $303 and confiscated the carcass.

There’s no word yet as to the what will be done with the carcass.

The men field dressed the buck, loaded him into a truck, and drove with the tailgate down to a taxidermist. They never made it there, according to one source. Motorists tried to get their attention and at least one called in the potential violation to the DNR’s hotline. A sheriff’s department deputy intervened, and then waited for Neverman to reach the scene.

Bill Hetzel, of The Alive Look Taxidermy, was familiar with the deer, having seen it in the area numerous times. He volunteered to start a fund for mounting the buck for the agency, but had not heard back on that point.

“They thought they were in the right. They weren’t hiding it,” said Hetzel. “There was a misunderstanding there. There was an ignorance of the law in this case, but it is in the books. I’m just upset that he didn’t think a little more first.”

Hetzel said white deer and piebald deer are seen in the area at times. Rarely are the white deer albinos, he said.

“These are white piebalds, but most of the piebalds usually do have some color on them,” said Hetzel. “On the piebalds that are all white (they have black eyes and black hooves), there is usually some brown on the top of the head between the antlers, and urine stains on the tarsal glands.”

Hetzel said the skull cap coloration comes from tree bark as bucks rub their antlers.

“If anything can come out of this I hope it’s the knowledge that all white deer are protected – it doesn’t matter if they have black eyes or pink eyes,” he said.

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